Current Affairs 23rd May 2016 - Banking, SSC, UPSC Affairs

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The Central government has elevated four general managers of state-owned general insurers as whole-time directors, including at GIC Re .  Ironically, some who were promoted recently have already retired within days of assuming charge, while a few other will hang up their boots within a month of taking over their new positions. Industry sources attributed this to long delays in vigilance clearances for the candidates.  Officials who have been promoted as whole-time directors include A Hoda at United India Insurance, K K Rao at Oriental Insurance, P Venkatramaiah of National Insurance Company and Segar Sampath Kumar at New India Assurance.  The government has created one more post of whole-time director at the country's sole reinsurer GIC Re. With this, all the five state-owned non-life insurers will be having two wholetime directors each.  Unlike public sector banks and Life Insurance Corporation, the public sector general insurers do not have the post of executive directors. These officials, even after being elevated as directors, are designated as general managers.  K K Rao who took over as wholetime director at Oriental Insurance on April 26, retired just four days later on April 30, thus creating a vacancy again.  Segar Sampath Kumar, who is currently with New India Assurance as a general manager, is likely to assume charge as the second wholetime director at GIC Re shortly. G C Gaylong is already a wholetime director at GIC Re.  A Hoda of United India and P Venkatramaiah of National Insurance Company have already assumed charge as wholetime directors.  Other Director : The other directors who are already serving at present include Hemant G Rokade and P Nayak at New India Assurance, Sujay Banarji of Oriental, AV Girija Kumar of United India and M Vasantha Krishna National Insurance. Nayak will be retiring this month-end.  Besides, there will be two more vacancies for the posts of chairmen and managing directors as Milind Kharat of United India and A K Saxena of Oriental Insurance are retiring by the month-end and June-end, respectively.  The CMD post of Agriculture Insurance Company (AIC) is lying vacant after PJ Joseph joined Irdai as Member. Alok Tandon, joint secretary in the finance ministry, is heading the AIC at present.  Another post of Member at Irdai will fall vacant once D D Singh retires later this year.   

CPI(M) veteran and former MLA and MP K Anirudhan, who was 92, passed away on 23 May 2016. Known for his significant contribution to build the Communist party movement in southern parts of the state, Anirudhan was elected to the state assembly in 1963, 1965, 1979 and 1980. Anirudhan, also an active trade union leader, had represented the then Chirayinkeezhu constituency near here in Lok Sabha after defeating former chief minister R Sankar in the 1967 elections.

The ALL Ladies League (ALL) organised the Women Economic Forum (WEF) from May 16-21, 2016 in New Delhi, India Theme : “Women: Uplifting and Uniting the World” Participants : 1500 women from 75 countries; the largest such gathering of diverse women from the world over Sessions : 408 sessions on 28 themes like business, technology, entrepreneurship, industry, health, travel, spirituality, peace, diplomacy, security, conflict resolution, personal leadership, innovation, research etc. Goal : Energize women’s entrepreneurship and leadership Objectives : Women Economic Forum is to exponentially enhance women’s economic progression and leadership skills and to become active change agents in all spheres of self and society. Women Economic Forum (WEF) 2016 : WEF is a mega marquee global event hosted by ALL Ladies League (ALL) the world’s largest league of women. It’s an all-inclusive global community with over 20,000 members, 450 global chapters, spanning 75 countries.  The goal of the Women Economic Forum is that all women through learning, education, togetherness and partnerships can make themselves completely economically independent, dependent on no one but themselves for their wellbeing and survival, providing freedom from any abuse or oppression advancing the progression of their personal and professional growth. The WEF 2016 agenda encompasses a broad scope of 28 themes, shared within 408 sessions. Themes include global business development, technology, entrepreneurship, fashion and lifestyle, music and arts, health and fitness, travel, peace and spirituality, diplomacy, security, conflict resolution, personal leadership, innovation, social empowerment, startups and more! WEF invites women entrepreneurs from France to share their business expertise or their message or cause as a speaker, panelist or moderator in any of these themes.

Mohun Bagan has clinched the Federation Cup title for the 14th time. In the final played at the Indira Gandhi Athletic Stadium in Guwahat on 21 May 2016i, Bagan defated Aizwal FC 5-0. Bagan won this tournament after a gap of 8 years (in 2008), when it defeated Dempo 1-0. The first half of the match went goalless. In the second half, Mizo striker Jeje Lalpekhlua netted two goals, while the other three goals were scored by Sony Norde, Dhanachandra Singh and Bikramjit Singh. In the quarterfinals, the Aizwal FC defeated the I-League champions Bengaluru FC. In semi-finals, it defeated Sporting Clube de Goa to book its place in the final for the first time. Federation Cup : The Federation Cup is an annual knockout style club football tournament in India. It has started in 1977. Presently it is the most important club tournament after the I-League, to which it has become a de facto League Cup.The winning club of the Federation Cup gets a chance to compete in the continental level in AFC Cup.2015 Federation Cup was won by Bengaluru FC.  

Veteran British director Ken Loach film I, Daniel Blake has won the his second Palme d’Or at the 69th Cannes Film Festival, France. Ken Loach, the 79 year old, is one of only nine directors to have won the top prize at Cannes twice. Loach had won in 2006 with The Wind That Shakes the Barley. The other includes, Kent-born director Andrea Arnold won the competition's Jury Prize for her road movie American Honey.  The Iranian film Forushande (The Salesman) by Asghar Farhadi received two awards, for Best Screenplay and for Best Actor, won by Shahab Hosseini.  Jaclyn Jose won Best Actress for her role in Ma’ Rosa, a brutal dive into the Manila underworld directed by Brillante Mendoza. Jean-Pierre Leaud, one of the most famous faces of the French New Wave, received the Palme d’Or d’Honneur, a lifetime achievement award. Cannes Festival  : The Cannes Festival named until 2002 as the International Film Festival (Festival international du film) and known in English as the Cannes Film Festival, is an annual film festival held in Cannes, France, which previews new films of all genres, including documentaries, from around the world. Founded in 1946, it is one of the most publicised, together with the Berlin International Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival. The invitation-only festival is held annually (usually in May) at the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès.On 1 July 2014, co-founder and former head of French pay-TV operator Canal+ Pierre Lescure took over as President of the festival. The Board of Directors also appointed Gilles Jacob as Honorary President of the festival

India's ace cueist Pankaj Advani has created history in Abu Dhabi by clinching the Asian 6-Red Snooker title. He has won the IBSF World 6 Red Championship previously as well making him the first player to hold both the world and continental championships in 6 Red snooker at the same time. The double International Billiards & Snooker Federation (IBSF) World Six-Red Snooker Champion stamped his authority again in the short format of the game, defeating top seeded Malaysian Keen Hoh Moh by 7-5 . Advani will now spearhead the Indian challenge in the team event with Aditya Mehta, Manan Chandra and Kamal Chawla.  

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Supremo Jayalalithaa was sworn-in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on 23 May 2016. Governor Dr K Rosaiah administered the oath of office and secrecy for her at the Centenary Auditorium, Madras University. This is Jayalalithaa’s second consecutive term as Chief Minister of the state and sixth overall. The governor also administered the pledge for the 28 ministers also. Ministers were administered swearing in pledge in batches. Her party All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) stomped to victory in the state elections, landing 134 of the 232 seats in the Tamil Nadu Assembly election. About Jayalalithaa : She served the state as its Chief Minister First term: June 1991-May 1996 Second term: May-September 2001  Third term: March 2002-May 2006 Fourth term: May 2011-September 2014 Fifth term: May 2015 to May 2016 During her second term, she was out of office for six months as the Supreme Court disqualified her in the TANSI (Tamil Nadu Small Industries Corporation) land acquisition case. She was re-sworn in March 2002. During her fourth term, she was out of the office after being disqualified as a legislator and consequently lost Chief Ministership following her conviction in a graft case by a trial court in Bengaluru which was later set aside by Karnataka High Court. Decisions taken post Swearing-in ceremony : After the swearing in she went to the Secretariat and signed in important files including Cancellation of loans to micro small and medium farmers who acquired loan through cooperative units Closing down of State owned liquor outlets in phases beginning with closing down of 500 shops Giving 100 units of electricity for free of charge  Increase from four to eight grams of gold for wedlock for brides who have completed degree and diplomas in addition to financial assistance. The list of ministers :  Jayalalithaa - chief minister; minister in charge for public, IAS, IPS, IFS, general administration, district revenue officers, police and home O Panneerselvam - finance, personnel and administrative reforms  Edappadi K Palaniswami - highways, public works, and minor ports Sellur K Raju - cooperation and labour Thangamani - electricity, prohibition and excise S Valarmathi - backward classes and minority welfare V M Rajalakshmi - adi dravidar and tribal welfare M Manikandan - information and technology  MR Vijayabhaskar - transport VP Velumani - municipal administration, rural development and implementation of special programme OS Manian - handlooms and textiles Udumalai Radhakrishnan - housing and urban development C Vijayabhaskar - health and family welfare  SP Shanmuganathan - milk and dairy development D Jayakumar - fisheries Dindigul Srinivasan - forest Kadambur Raju - information and publicity R B Udayakumar - revenue P Benjamin - school education, sports and youth welfare Vellamandi N Natarajan - tourism CV Shanmugam - law, courts and prisons  KT Rajenthra Bhalaji - rural industries  K C Veeramani - commercial taxes K P Anbazhagan - higher education Dr V Saroja - social welfare, nutritious noon meal programme KC Karuppannan - environment MC Sampath - industries  R Kamaraj - food, civil supplies and HR&CE  R Duraikannu - agriculture and animal husbandry

India and Iran signed 12 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) and Agreements in various areas including building and operating the Chabahar port by India.  The other agreements include cooperation in science and technology, culture, library sciences, and cooperation between the EXIM banks of both the countries. These agreements were signed after the delegation level talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Bilateral contract on Chabahar Port for port development and operations : It was signed between IPGPL (India Ports Global Private Limited) and Arya Banader of Iran. It envisages development and operation of two terminals and 5 berths with cargo handling (general and multipurpose) capacities for 10 years. MoU between EXIM Bank and Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO) : It is intended for the purpose of credit of USD 150 million for Chabahar port. Confirmation Statement between EXIM Bank and Central Bank of Iran (CBI) : It confirms availability of credit up to 3000 crore rupees for the import of steel rails and implementation of Chabahar port. MoU between IRCON and CDTIC : It will enable IRCON to provide requisite services for the construction of Chabahar-Zahedan railway line. This line forms part of transit and transportation corridor in trilateral agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan. MoU on India-Iran Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) : It seeks to extend the CEP for the period 2016-2019. It covers areas of culture and art TV, radio, mass media and cinema. MoU on Policy Dialogue between Governments and Interaction between Think Tanks : It seeks to create a Joint Secretary/Director General policy dialogue. It also seeks to encourage new institutional mechanisms between think tanks on both sides. MoU between Foreign Service Institute, MEA and School of International Relations, Iran’s MoFA : It intends to enhance cooperation for training of diplomats and exchange of eminent speakers. Implementation Protocol on Cooperation in the Fields of Science and Technology : It deals with cooperation in pursuant to the 2003 MoU and covers areas like exchange of experiences, seminars, conferences etc. Besides, leaders of both countries also issued a joint statement mentioning that the Chabahar port is a symbol of synergy between both the nations. The port can serve as a point of connectivity to different countries and economic relations between India and Iran can further be expanded through the project. Highlighted the need of both the nations to work together to bring peace and stability in the region.

Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling was conferred with the Yug Kavi Siddhicharan Award, one of the Nepal’s prestigious literary award. The award was bestowed upon him by Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli for his commendable contributions in promoting Nepali literature in India.  The award ceremony was organised by Siddhicharan Shrestha Academy on the occasion of 105th birth anniversary of the late poet Shrestha. Yug Kavi Siddhicharan Award carries a certificate of appreciation and a sum of 100,000 Nepali Rupees. Pawan Chamling is an author of many books in Nepali, English and Hindi. He is also a publisher. He has been awarded twice by the Sikkim Sahitya Parishad for the best poem Chintan Puraskar in 1987 and Bhanu Puraskar in 2010. His other works in Nepali include Prarambhik Kavita (1978), Antyaheen Sapana: Mero Bipana (1985), Ma Ko Hoon! (1992) and Sikkim ra Nariko Maryada.

The International Day to End Obstetric Fistula was observed across the world on 23 May 2016 with the theme End fistula within a generation. The day is celebrated to raise awareness about obstetric fistula. The day was created through the resolution A/RES/67/147 of United Nations General Assembly calling on the international community to use this International Day to significantly raise awareness and intensify actions towards ending obstetric fistula. Obstetric fistula : Obstetric fistula is one of the most serious and tragic injuries that can occur during childbirth. It is a hole between the birth canal and the bladder or rectum caused by prolonged, obstructed labour without treatment.The condition typically leaves women incontinent and as a result they are often shunned by their communities. Sufferers often endure depression, social isolation and deepening poverty. Many women live with the condition for years as they cannot afford to obtain treatment. An estimated 2 million women in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, the Arab region, Latin America and the Caribbean are living with this injury and some 50000 to 100000 new cases develop each year. Yet fistula is almost entirely preventable. Its persistence is a sign that health systems are failing to meet women’s essential needs.

Chinese women badminton team showing its supremacyhas won the Uber Cup title on 21 May 2016. In the final played at the Kunshan Sports Centre Gymnasium in Beijing, the host country defeated South Korea 3-1. It was the host country’s third triumph in a row since 2012 and overall it won the title for 14th time since it first started competing in the Uber Cup in 1984.However, South Korean team was unable to end their six-year drought at the Uber Cup. Match Results : In the best of five series, reigning Olympic champion Li Xuerui beat Sung Ji-hyun 14-21, 21-13, 21-10 in the first match. In the second match and doubles Jung Kyung-eun and Shin Seung-chan of South Korea beat the Chinese pair of Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei 16-21, 21-17, 25-23 to level the tie.In the third match former World No 1 Wang Shixian beat Kim Hyo-min 21-13, 21-12 to put China back on top. In the final and fourth match Chen Qingchen and Tang Yuanting of China beat Chang Ye-na and Lee So-hee 21-14, 21-16 to clinch the winning point and the title. India’s performance in Uber Cup : India won the bronze of the Uber Cup tournament after they suffered a 0-3 defeat at the hands of defending champions China in the semifinals.Indian women team comprise of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Jwala Gutta and N Sikki Reddy.Indian team won the bronze medal of the tournament for the second consecutive time. They had won it for the first time and scripted history in the 2014 edition at New Delhi. Uber Cup : The Uber Cup is the World Team Championships for Women and it was first held in 1956-7. It is held once in every three years. Since 1984, the Cup is held bi-ennially. It was named after a former British women's badminton player, Betty Uber. She gave the idea of hosting a women's event similar to that of the men (Thomas Cup).China has won the cup for maximum number of times. It has won the cup 13 times followed by Japan which has won it for five times. Indonesia and United States have won the cup for three times each.  

Denmark has won the 2016 Thomas Cup badminton tournament on 22 May 2016. In the final match played at Kunshan, China, the Danish team defeated Indonesia 3-2. In the fifth and final set, Danish Hans-Kristian Vittinghus defeated Indonesian Ihsan Maulana Mustofa in two straight games 21-16 and 21-7. Ending a 67-year wait, this was Denmark’s first ever win in the international tournament. Earlier, it had finished runner-up at the men’s international team tournament. Denmark is also the first European nation to win the Thomas Cup.Denmark’s victory also erased Indonesia’s hopes of winning its first Thomas Cup title in 14 years. Last time Indonesia won the title in 2002. The final was Indonesia and Denmark's fifth meeting in the Thomas Cup final, with Indonesia having won on all previous occasions, in 1964, 1973, 1979 and 1996. Despite its loss in 2016, Indonesia with 13 titles managed to remain the country with maximum Thomas Cup titles.   Indonesia won the tournament in 1958, 1961, 1964, 1970, 1973, 1976, 1979, 1984, 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, and 2002. Host China, which is home to some of the world's best men's badminton players, stumbled out of the tournament after a shocking 3-1 upset to South Korea in the quarter-finals. On the other hand, Uber Cup (Women’s World Team Championships) was won by China. In the final, China defeated South Korea 3-1. This was China’s 14th Uber title. Indian women's team won bronze title at the Championship. Thomas Cup : The Thomas Cup also known as Men’s World Team Championships is an international badminton competition. It was first staged in 1948-49, and the Uber Cup or Women’s World Team Championships was added for the first time in 1956-7.Thomas Cup, taking place every three years, was the BWF’s first major international tournament. The idea for the competition and the donation of the trophy was by the first President of the World body, Sir George Thomas, legendary player (21 All England titles) and administrator of the Sport.

India and Oman has signed 4 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs)/agreements in Muscat on 22 May 2016. They were signed during the visit of Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar to Oman. Details related to MoUs/Agreements : MOU on Defence Cooperation between the Ministry of Defense of Sultanate of Oman and Ministry of Defence of India.MOU between the Royal Oman Police (Coast Guard) and the Indian Coast Guard in the field of Marine Crime Prevention at Sea.MOU between the Government of the Sultanate of Oman and India on Maritime Issues. Protocol between the Government of the Sultanate of Oman represented by Royal Air Force of Oman and the Government of India represented by the Indian Air Force on Flight Safety information Exchange. India-Oman defence relations : Defence cooperation with Oman is of importance for India due to Oman’s strategic location at the mouth of the Persian Gulf.Bilateral relation between Indian and Oman were formally established with signing of a 1953 Indo-Oman Treaty of friendship, Navigation and Commerce, a first between India and an Arab country. A military protocol was signed in 1972, and the two air forces together conducted Exercise Eastern Bridge in 2009 in Oman and in 2011 in India. The signing of a MoU on Defence Cooperation in Dec 2005 and subsequent establishment of the Joint Military Cooperation in Mar 2006 has set the foundation for increased defence cooperation.Since 1993, navies of both the countries have been conducting joint exercises - Naseem Al Bahr. The most recent exercise was conducted in the Arabian Sea off Goa coast in January 2016. It was the 10th edition Naseem Al Bahr.The Indian Navy has berthing rights in Oman and has been utilising Oman's ports as bases for conducting anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

As India's much loved author Ruskin Bond turns 82 on Thursday, his fans will be treated to two new books "My Favourite Nature Stories" and "The World Outside My Window"  themed on nature, the writer's first love.  In the first (both are published by Rupa), Bond talks about his various encounters with the natural world. From the chorus of cicadas to the song of the whistling thrush, from his love for sea shells to his favourite place on earth, Bond details the reasons for his abiding love for nature.  Bond further states that circumstances forced him to move higher up to the Moor of Ivy Cottage in Landour Cantonment, where he has been staying for the last 35 years. "Here too, the windows open on to the sky, the clouds, the Doon valley and range-upon-range of mountains. And from this perch on the hillside I feel that I am part of the greater world  The second book is a handy guide for Bond's fans who wants to explore nature.  When you have some time to spare, make a list of all the different insects that you can name. Imagine you knew the name of every kind of insect in India or even in the world. If you were to write them all down, it would take you at least a month, without stopping to sleep or eat, to complete your list . In this delightful little book, Bond writes about some of the most interesting insects, birds, trees and flowers he has observed. From the butterfly, dragonfly, scorpion and ant lion to different varieties of cacti, semul trees, jasmine flowers and the wild flowers found in the Himalayan region, as well as birds of the hills and urban areas like Delhi, Bond describes them all.  Ruskin Bond : Ruskin Bond is an Indian author of British descent. He lives with his adopted family in Landour, in Mussoorie, India. The Indian Council for Child Education has recognized his role in the growth of children's literature in India. He got the Sahitya Academy Award in 1992 for Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra, for his published work in English. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 and Padma Bhushan in 2014.

The Gujarat Government on 22 May 2016 said that as many as 6,000 villages in the State have become Open Defecation Free (ODF). State Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Jayanti Kavadia claimed at a function here, all 18,000 villages in the state would become ODF much before 2019, a target set by Centre government under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. The Central government wants each State to achieve 100 per cent target by 2019, the year when the nation will celebrate 125th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. At this pace, I strongly believe that Gujarat would achieve that target much before 2019. Ms. Patel also launched the ‘Smart Village’ initiative of the State government under which, 300 villages will be selected in the first phase.Under the scheme, village panchayats need to submit an application along with a vision document having road map of converting their village into a ‘smart village’ A high-level committee would select 300 villages from all the applications. After providing them grants for three years, ‘smart village’ award will be conferred after detailed evaluation, as the village needs to meet several benchmarks, such as 100 per cent ODF, 100 per cent vaccination, wi-fi facility, zero per cent drop out ratio, door-to-door waste collection, etc, the chief minister .At the programme, nearly 3,000 sarpanchs of the 6,000 villages were felicitated.

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on 23 May 2016 successfully launched its maiden indigenous winged Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) from Sriharikota spaceport in Andhra Pradesh. It was carried up on a solid rocket motor (SRM). The nine-ton SRM was designed to burn slowly to accommodate the vertical lifting of winged body. After launch from the Sriharikota spaceport, it glided back onto a virtual runway in the Bay of Bengal. The vehicle re-entered the atmosphere after reaching a height of over 70 km. The mission, known as the hypersonic flight experiment, lasted about 10 minutes. Reusable Launch Vehicle The Re-Usable Launch Vehicle - Technology Demonstrator (RLV-TD) is considered as a first step towards realising a Two Stage To Orbit (TSTO) fully reusable vehicle. That is, it can put satellites into orbit around earth and then re-enter atmosphere. The 6.5 meter long RLV-TD has aeroplane like structure which weighs about 1.75 tons. The cost of this project is 95 crore rupees.  It is very similar to the US space shuttle. The double delta-winged RLV-TD being experimented is a scale model which is almost 6 times smaller than the final version.  Before moving on to the final version of the RLV will take off around 2030, ISRO has planned to test two more such prototypes.    It has been designed with an aim to bring down the cost of making infrastructure in space. It was built at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram by a team of 600 scientists over five years. At present, there is no country that flies a winged spacecraft into space. The two countries that used such spacecrafts were USA and Russia. The US retired such shuttles in 2011, while Russia flew such plane only in 1989. In fact, RLV will be competing against two private companies namely SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Blue Origin's New Shephard rocket, which have already partially tested re-usable space shuttles.

BJP leader and former IPS officer Kiran Bedi was appointed as Lt Governor of Puducherry , a post which was under the additional charge of Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Island for nearly two years.  A Rashtrapati Bhawan communique said "the President has been pleased to appoint Ms Kiran Bedi, to be the Lt. Governor of Puducherry with effect from the date she assumes charges of her office  The appointment came three days after the Congress-DMK alliance won 17 seats in the 30-member state Assembly. AIADMK, which contested the elections on its own, won four seats while BJP could not get even a single seat.  The LG post in the Union territory had been lying vacant after the Narendra Modi Government had sacked UPA nominee Virendra Kataria on July 12 barely a year after he had been appointed. Lt Governor of Andaman and Nicobar Island Lt Gen Ajay Singh had been given additional charge of Puducherry.  Kiran Bedi  : Born on June 9, 1949, Bedi had led the BJP campaign in the 2015 Delhi Assembly elections but had to face the worst defeat in her maiden political innings with Arvind Kejriwal- led AAP winning 67 of the 70 seats. An IPS officer of 1972 batch, Bedi had sought voluntary retirement from the service in 2007. She was then posted as Director General, Bureau of Police Research and Development. A sports lover and an author, Bedi is a recipient of Ramon Magsaysay Award as well as UN Medal for outstanding service. She was one of the pioneers of anti-corruption crusade in 2011 along with Anna Hazare and Kejriwal against the then UPA government. She also earned a law degree at Delhi University in 1988 and a PhD from IIT Delhi's Department of Social Sciences in 1993. 

The school students from India and Pakistan have been connecting with each other through handwritten letters besides a few audio and visual recordings that are reflective of a shared history of the two neighbours before Partition. The 'Student Exchange Program', a year-long dialogue comprising a sustained exchange of written, visual and oral histories connecting school children aged between 10-14 years across the cities of India and Pakistan was initiated by city-based NGO 'Routes 2 Roots'.  The NGO has recently been awarded the "The Inter-cultural Innovation Award 2016' from United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) in Baku, Azerbaijan for this programme.  In its first year in 2010 the program attracted between 2400 children from 10 schools across four cities of India and Pakistan.  Students hailing from diverse socio-economic backgrounds from selected schools participate in the five-phased program that is aimed at improving ties between the two countries and the exchange of letters, postcards, pictures, artwork and videos encourage children to form their own opinions and have a clearer understanding of history, culture and lifestyle through cross cultural communications.  The endeavour enables students to familiarise with each other with the history, culture and lifestyle of their neighbouring country. Steps  :  The first phase 'Letters Writing' engage students in writing letters, where they share their thoughts, values, hobbies and interests.  In the next 'Postcard Series,' students click pictures of their favourite monument, family, pet etc and write about the picture and subsequently the postcards are then sent to schools across the border and shared among the children.  In the third phase, students are given four themes namely school life, food, festivals and marriages and historical monuments under the "Collage Series". Students can make decorative collages on any of the given themes which are shared with schools across the borders thus creating a bond between the two countries.  The 4th phase is the 'Oral History' series which adds an audio-based dimension to the project. Students interviewed their grandparents, collecting historical narratives about various cities across Pakistan and India as well as their recollections of the early years.

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has launched Smart Village program on the occasion of completion of two years of her Government. Addressing the launching function at Mahatma Mandir in Gandhinagar, the CM said, 300 villages will be selected for Smart Village program. These villages will get 80 lakh to 2 crore rupees cash assistance from the state government to improve public facilities in the villages. On this occasion, the Sarpanchs of villages having 100 percent completion of toilet targets have been felicitated. The second anniversary of Anandiben Patel Government in Gujarat will also be celebrated by State BJP from 22nd to 26th May. Vikas Parva Yatra have been organised in all districts and cities under the leadership of Ministers and local Members of Parliament and Members of Legislative Assembly. Smart Village  : Smart village is another platform that brings the state and church together to make difference in the lives of poor tribal people in unreached villages.   It is building up of a complete village, self reliant by mobilizing renewable energy and complete participation of people in all development towards a smart village or a model village among Indian villages. During the financial year, Navodaya staff visited more than five villages in Gujarat and Maharashtra. Office has made a preliminary survey on Bipalpada in Gujarat and Varood in Nagapur. Office also has made a study in two villages in Gadchiroli area and one village in Thane district Maharashtra. The final marking of the area has to be done in the next financial year. Still there is deep discussion and deliberations going on the same. 

Union Government has constituted 11 members committee to recommend measures to enhance the combat capabilities of the armed forces and re-balance the overall defence expenditure. The 11-member committee will be headed by Lt Gen D B Shekatkar (retd).  It also includes several other top military officers as well as civilian experts. The overall aim of the committee is to ensure combat capabilities Indian armed forces and enhance their potential with a better teeth-to-tail combat ratio, within budgetary constraints. It also aims at ensuring leaner and cost-effective fighting forces of India. The committee was constituted owing to the present revenue component (day-to-day costs/salaries) in the defence budget. The revenue component usually outstrips the capital outlay every year and leaves a very little for new modernisation projects for the armed forces.  Since the 1999 Kargil conflict, Union Government is trying to follow a policy of `save and raise’ in order to improve combat capabilities without manpower increases. For this purpose government is focusing on modernisation and induction of cutting-edge technologies, for optimisation of manpower.

Every year May 21 is being observed as Anti-Terrorism Day throughout India to spread awareness among the people about the danger of terrorism and violence and its effect on the people, society and the country as a whole. The objective behind the observance of Anti-Terrorism Day is to wean away the people from terrorism and violence. Its motive is to promote unity, peace and harmony across the nation.  The day marks the death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who was assassinated at an election rally near Chennai by a suicide bomber from the LTTE on 21 May 1991. On this occasion, debates, discussions, seminars, symposia, etc. are organized in schools, colleges and universities across the country on the threats of terrorism and violence.

Himachal Pradesh fisheries department has started an artificial propagation programme for rehabilitation and conservation of Golden Mahseer fish. Under this programme, a hatchery has been set up in the state with an outlay of Rs 6 crore to rear mahseer fish and release its fingerlings into the wild. The population of the golden mahseer has seen decline in recent times in rivers of Himachal Pradesh as they are hunted for sport and food. It also has declined due to various reasons such as construction of dams, barrages, indiscriminate fishing of juvenile and brood fish, pollution, introduction of exotic species and habitat deterioration. Golden mahseer  : Golden mahseer is the longest-living freshwater fish. It is also known as the tiger of Indian rivers and belongs to the genus Tor. It is native to mountain and sub-mountain regions and is found at altitudes of up to 2,000 metres above sea level. During the southwest floods it migrates upstream for spawning and after spawning, it returns to the original feeding grounds International Union of Conservation of Natural Resources (IUCN) has declared it endangered.

The world's oldest Olympic champion, Sandor Tarics, died on 21 May 2016 in San Francisco. He was 102. His death was confirmed by Hungarian Olympic Committee MOB. Tarics was member of the Hungarian Waterpolo team which won in the Berlin Olympics staged by the Nazi government in 1936, pushing Germany into second place. Sandor Tarics :  A keen mathematician and an engineer by profession, he left Hungary after the Communist Party takeover in 1948 and settled in San Francisco where he worked as a university professor. He achieved fame in US for his work in earthquake research and in particular his design of earthquake-proof building technologies. A recipient of official honours in both the US and Hungary, he also served for a period as the UN's Earthquake Advisor. At the age of over 100, Tarics still drove his car with California license plate Gold36. In 2012, he attended the London Olympics as the oldest living champion.Tarics was born in 1913 in Budapest, Hungary.  

The United Nations (UN) observed the International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD) on 22 May 2016. The theme for the year 2016 is Mainstreaming Biodiversity; Sustaining People and their Livelihoods. This year theme highlights the role of biodiversity in underpinning development. The UN also highlighted that biodiversity is an important cross-cutting issue in the message marking the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Besides, the thirteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP 13) to be held in Cancun, Mexico from 4 to 17 December 2016 will focus on the mainstreaming of biodiversity within and across sectors, which is closely linked to 2016 IDB theme. International Day for Biological Diversity : The United Nations General Assembly, by its resolution 55/201 of 20 December 2000, proclaimed 22 May as the International Day for Biological Diversity.The day aims at increasing understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues and to commemorate the adoption of Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act. Earlier 29 December was designated as IBD to commemorate the date of entry into force of the CBD.The International Day for Biological Diversity falls within the scope of the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda's Sustainable Development Goals.The theme of 2015 IBD was Biodiversity for Sustainable Development.

Anurag Thakur was unanimously elected as 34th BCCI President at the board’s special general meeting (SGM) in Mumbai on 22 May 2016. He will serve as President until September 2017 . Thakur, who is a BJP MP in Lok Sabha from Himachal Pradesh's Hamirpur district, is the second youngest BCCI chief. Fateh Singh Gaekwad in 1963 became the youngest BCCI President at the age of 33. Thakur succeeds Shashank Manohar who stepped down from the position to take up the ICC chief's job. Manohar was elected the ICC's first independent chairman on 12 May 2016. Before being appointed as President, Thakur resigned as BCCI Secretary. Thakur, 41, will also represent the BCCI on the ICC executive board and the Asian Cricket Council. Anurag Singh Thakur : He is the son of Prem Kumar Dhumal, the former Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh.He has been a member of 14th, 15th and 16th Lok Sabha.He was elected as the Honorary Secretary of the BCCI in January 2015.He played one match in first-class cricket representing Himachal Pradesh and leading the team as captain in a match against Jammu and Kashmir in the 2000/2001 season. Apart from this, after taking the office of President, Thankur named Ajay Shirke as his successor as secretary. Shrike will represent the BCCI at the chief executives committee meetings of the ICC.  

Former Finance Secretary Ratan P Watal was appointed as Principal Adviser (Social Sector) in NITI Aayog for 3-years. His appointment was on 20 May 2016 approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) headed by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Prior to this appointment, Watal was the Union Finance Secretary between September 2015 and April 2016.Watal, 60, is a 1978-batch Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS officer and holds masters degree in economics. NITI Aayog : The National Institution for Transforming India, also called NITI Aayog, was formed via a resolution of the Union Cabinet on 1 January 2015.It replaced the decades old Planning Commission of India. NITI Aayog is the premier policy ‘Think Tank’ of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs.At the core of NITI Aayog’s creation are two hubs – Team India Hub and the Knowledge and Innovation Hub that reflect the two key tasks of the Aayog.The Team India Hub leads the engagement of states with the Central government, while the Knowledge and Innovation Hub builds NITI’s think-tank capabilities.The Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Arvind Panagariya are the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson of the institution respectively.Amitabh Kant is the Chief Executive Officer of the NITI Aayog.  

Market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) on 20 May 2016 tightened the norms for investing in Participatory Notes (P-Notes). The norms have been tightened with a view to check money laundering. It has been mandatory for P-Notes users to follow the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002. They have also been mandated to report any suspicious transactions immediately.Sebi also tightened the due-diligence requirements for issuance and transfer of these instrumentsIt also put the onus on the original issuer for compliance to Anti-Money Laundering Regulations. The issuers would have to conduct periodic review and report the complete transfer trail of P-Notes to Sebi on a monthly basis in addition to the present requirement of reporting details of their holders. These norms were passed upon recommendations of the Supreme Court- appointed SIT on black money. SIT on black money was set up under apex court’s order of 4 July 2011. It was set up under former apex court judges Justice MB Shah as its chairman and Justice Arijit Pasayat as its vice chairman. What are P-Notes : P-Notes are typically instruments issued by registered foreign institutional investors to overseas investors, who wish to invest in Indian markets without registering themselves directly in India to save on time. But, they still need to go through a proper due diligence process.

Spanish’s oldest football club Sevilla has won the 2016 UEFA Europa League title on 19 May 2016. To win the title, it defeated Liverpool Football Club (FC) 3-1 in the final match held at St. Jakob-Park in Basel, Switzerland. With this win, Sevilla became the first team to win the Europa League three times in succession. Earlier, the team won the titles in 2015 and 2014 by defeating Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk and Benfica respectively. Sevilla holds the record for the most victories, having won the competition five times since its inception. Apart from the consecutive titles since 2014, the other titles were won by the team in 2006 and 2007. UEFA Europa League title : The UEFA Europa League, formerly the UEFA Cup, is an association football competition.It was established in 1971 by the Union of European Football (UEFA). It is considered the second most important international competition for European clubs, after the UEFA Champions League.Clubs qualify for the Europa League based on their performance in national leagues and cup competitions.  

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